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Without children, who should keep the house after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2017 | Divorce |

When you and your spouse choose to divorce, it can often seem overwhelming to suddenly face the many issues divorce presents. If you find yourself feeling this way, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Many couples have trouble connecting the dots between understanding it’s time to end the marriage and actually finalizing the divorce.

One of the most common issues that can hang up a divorce is a marital home. For the vast majority of couples who choose to divorce, a marital home is by far the largest asset they have to their name.

If a couple has children, it is common for the parent who receives primary custody to keep a marital home. But, what if you don’t have any children?

For many couples, arguing about who gets to keep the fancy silverware and who gets the record collection is small potatoes compared to determining who gets to keep the house, or whether to keep the house at all.

Property division is a crucial part of a divorce, and not one you should approach carelessly. Your divorce cannot finalize until your reach a fair agreement on property division, and a house involves some serious risks if you don’t deal with it properly. If you have any concerns about achieving a fair divorce, you can consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your rights and privileges remain secure.

Does it make sense to keep the home?

Many divorcing people think they want to keep their marital home, but it may not actually be the wisest course of action. A house is an exceptionally complicated asset that carries a number of liabilities with it.

Many married couples buy a home by using both of their respective incomes to qualify for the loan. If this is your circumstance, then you need to carefully consider how you will keep the home without sinking the other areas of your life and finances.

If your spouse’s name is on the loan, then you must refinance or otherwise adjust your loan so that their name is no longer tied to it. However, your loan provider may not offer you the same loan terms on your single income, which could make this difficult.

Also, it is not fair or safe for your spouse to keep his or her name on the loan. This means that any late payments you might make in the future could affect your spouse’s credit. Furthermore, they could face some difficulty qualifying for future loans if their name remains on the mortgage, eating up a hefty chuck of their debt-to-income ratio.

Depending on your circumstances, it may make more sense to sell the home and find a way to split the profit or loss with your spouse.

Can you fairly compensate your spouse if you keep the home?

If your marital home qualifies as marital property, then you should work to find a fair way to divide it or compensate the party who does not keep it. This could mean many things — an outright buyout of their portion of the value of the home, or an agreement to give them other assets to offset that value.

It is often wise to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you examine the nuances of your situation and identify the options you have to move forward and achieve a fair, complete divorce.